RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Red Hat, its new parent IBM, along with Intel, Microsoft and China-based Tencent are among the high-tech giants joining a collaborative effort to drive adoption of what’s called “confidental computing.”

The firms recently joined the Confidential Computing Cosrtium.

Microsoft defines confidential computing as a means to add “new data security capabilities using trusted execution environments (TEEs) or encryption mechanisms to protect your data while in use. TEEs are hardware or software implementations that safeguard data being processed from access outside the TEE.”

The Linux Foundation is behind the push.

The foundation says CCC is “dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. It will  embody open governance and open collaboration that has aided the success of similarly ambitious efforts..”

The members are devoting the following to the project:

  • Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) Software Development Kit is designed to help application developers protect select code and data from disclosure or modification at the hardware layer using protected enclaves.
  • Microsoft Open Enclave SDK, an open source framework that allows developers to build Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) applications using a single enclaving abstraction. Developers can build applications once that run across multiple TEE architectures.
  • Red Hat Enarx, which provides a platform abstraction for Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) enabling creating and running “private, fungible, serverless” applications.

“Confidential computing focuses on  securing data in use,” CCC notes. “Current approaches to securing data often  address data at rest (storage) and in transit (network)but encrypting data in use is  possibly the most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data. Confidential computing will enable encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system and reduce exposure for sensitive data and provide greater control and transparency for users.”

Read more about the project online.